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Twins notebook, 7/18

July 18, 2011

Morneau set to begin baseball activities

MINNEAPOLIS — Less than three weeks since having surgery to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck, Justin Morneau will begin baseball activities this week.Twins head trainer Rick McWane gave an update on Morneau’s progress Monday morning, and he said Morneau played catch Sunday without any issues.

“He’ll take some grounders,” McWane said. “Swinging a bat will be the last thing, but he’s ready to take ground balls, play catch and run around.”

Morneau had the surgery on June 29 and was expected to be out at least six weeks, a timeframe that would have Morneau back in action for the Twins no earlier than mid-August.

His current progress seems like it may be ahead of schedule, but it remains unclear whether it actually is.

“Maybe a little,” McWane said, “but it’s kind of early to say until he starts swinging.”

Twins decide to be cautious with Baker

MINNEAPOLIS — After Scott Baker felt stiffer than expected on Sunday, he and the Twins’ coaching and training staff decided it would be best not to push things by pitching on Monday.

If Baker had pitched the first game of the doubleheader against the Indians as scheduled, the situation could have gotten worse than it is already. Any issues with his elbow after that outing would have eliminated the Twins’ ability to backdate his trip to the disabled list.

“We all sat down and had a long conversation,” said Twins head trainer Rick McWane. “We all decided it was in his best interest not to push it and give it a couple extra days. We’d already invested 12 days or whatever it was in this, and we didn’t want to have him go out there and throw, because then you’re talking another 15 days.”

Baker’s current plan is to rest for a couple days before throwing another bullpen session. The Twins will reevaluate the right-hander at that point and decide on the next step.

McWane also gave updates on outfielders Denard Span and Jason Kubel, both of whom are rehabbing injuries with Triple-A Rochester.

Span and Kubel started Sunday’s game for the Red Wings, with Span going 0-for-3 batting leadoff and playing center field. Kubel was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while batting in the No. 3 spot as the designated hitter.

They’re both scheduled to play again Monday in Rochester.

“Span did fine last night. He’s going to play another five innings in the outfield today,” McWane said. “Kubel is going to play outfield today for nine innings. He had no problems yesterday.”

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